Oxidative stress and apoptosis are involved in Ochratoxin A (OTA)-induced renal cytotoxicity. Apoptosis signal-regulating kinase 1 (ASK1) is a Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase Kinase Kinase (MAPKKK, MAP3K) family member that plays an important role in oxidative stress-induced cell apoptosis. In this study, we performed RNA interference of ASK1 in HEK293 cells and employed an iTRAQ-based quantitative proteomics approach to globally investigate the regulatory mechanism of ASK1 in OTA-induced renal cytotoxicity. Our results showed that ASK1 knockdown alleviated OTA-induced ROS generation and Δψm loss and thus desensitized the cells to OTA-induced apoptosis. We identified 33 and 24 differentially expressed proteins upon OTA treatment in scrambled and ASK1 knockdown cells, respectively. Pathway classification and analysis revealed that ASK1 participated in OTA-induced inhibition of mRNA splicing, nucleotide metabolism, the cell cycle, DNA repair, and the activation of lipid metabolism. We concluded that ASK1 plays an essential role in promoting OTA-induced renal cytotoxicity.
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